Bamenda—Cameroon’s leading opposition political party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF) has launched a petition calling for the immediate release of Laurent Gbabo, former president of the Cote d’Ivoire.
Mr Gbabo who was president of Cote d’Ivoire since the year 2000 is on trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he is being accused of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity following a “short period of civil conflict” that erupted in the country after he refused to step down following his loss to Alassane Ouattara in the 2010 presidential election.
Supporters of Mr Gbabo however argue that most of the atrocities committed during the post-election civil war were carried out by rebel forces on the side of President Alhassane Ouattara.
Cameroon’s leading opposition leader, Ni John Fru Ndi who launched a petition in the country calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Laurent Gbabo from The Hague custody said the former Ivorian leader should be freed from the “unjust, unfair and unsustainable situation” in which a few known impostors of the legitimacy of the international community have placed him.
“Everyone knows that Africans in general and Cameroonians in particular are against the violence of justice that is perpetrated by the United Nations system through the International Criminal Tribunal to President Laurent Gbabo,” Mr Fru Ndi said at a National Executive Committee rally of his party in Bamenda, Northwest of Cameroon at the weekend.
Mr Fru Ndi who described the former Ivorian leader and founded of Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) as a friend and brother said his party, the SDF accompanied the FPI in its long march to liberate the Ivorian people, “because we shared same ideals.” Both were member parties of Socialist International.
“That is why I launch this appeal for the release of this true son of Africa, not only as a friend but as someone who believes in justice,” Mr Fru Ndi clarified.
The Cameroon opposition leader said the petition was not meant to change power in Cote d’Ivoire nor its purpose that of establishing the truth about what happened.
“This petition is only about the liberation of President Gbagbo because in the absence of all the responsible actors of Cote d’Ivoire’s crisis, any decision taken by The Hague will be void of any legitimacy,” Mr Fru Ndi stated.
He said the opposition party hoped to obtain the adherence of a vast majority of Cameroonians across the political spectrum.
“I am signing this petition today for the dignity of Africa, for justice for peace. Please, unconditionally liberate President Laurent Gbabo,” Mr Fru Ndi said.
The signature campaign which was earlier launched in the Cote D’Ivoire by ex-culture Minister, Bernard Dadie and ex-Prime Minister Koffigoh and has already gathered more than three million signatures, according to reports.
The first vice chairman of the SDF party Mr Joshua Osih told local media that the party hoped to assemble about ten thousand signatures in contribution to the needed 22million.